Legal jargons are confusing. Many legal terms and processes sound the same. Take, for instance, Living Will and Will. A layman might think that both these terms are the same as they have a common word, ‘Will.’ However, Living Will and Will are different in terms of the purpose they serve. Understanding the difference between the two legal terms, you can know when to look for the estate attorney near me.
A Will is also referred to as a last will and testament. This legal document serves as a guide for the surviving members to distribute the assets after the estate owner dies.
On the other hand, living will allow a person to make end-of-life decisions if they become incapacitated. Through a living will, you can declare what healthcare facilities you should be given if you cannot make decisions on your own.
Last Will and Testament
The Will is a legal declaration of what should happen to your estate and assets after your death. The will contains a clear guideline for distributing the estate and assets amongst the beneficiaries. An executor named in the last will and testament is responsible for executing the person’s wishes upon their death. You can name anyone as an executor in your will. It’s a common practice to choose a family member or close relative as an executor. One can also name more than one executor for effective implementation of the will.
Before distributing the assets and estate to the beneficiaries, the executor should pay the probate, funeral costs, and creditors. According to the clauses, the remaining assets should be distributed to the individuals or organizations names in the last will and testament. Estate and assets left through a will are subject to state and federal taxes. Thus, make sure the people named in the will can afford the cost associated with the assets’ upkeep.
A trust and estate attorney may recommend Living Will to someone suffering from an incurable disease or is incapacitated. If your illness has rendered you incapable of making health decisions, your caregiver and closed ones can refer to your living will. The doctor can take End-of-life decisions like resuscitation and feeding more efficiently.
A living will also allow a person to make decisions like organ donation, burial, cremation, and autopsy.
One can also create a durable power of attorney to address medicare payment instructions and make other healthcare decisions. When appointing a personal representative in your durable power of attorney, make sure you choose the one who is more than 18 years of age, reliable, and capable of executing your wishes.
One of the main differences between a living will and a last will and testament is execution time. The last will and testament come into effect upon the death of a person. However, the living will go into effect if a person becomes incapacitated and cannot make health care decisions.
Will and living will play a crucial role in safeguarding a person’s interest and those close to them even after they die or become incapacitated. One must be careful when drafting such documents. Any mistake can render the document invalid, so always seek help from a qualified trust and estate lawyer.